A landing craft that ran aground on Kodiak Island, Alaska, was successfully refloated off the beach Thursday, according to the Coast Guard.

Two crew members were unhurt during the incident that started Tuesday, when the 74’x21’ freight barge Don Quixote began taking on water and was intentionally grounded by its operator about two miles south of Cape Kuliuk.

Operated by B&R Fish By Products Inc., Kodiak, Alaska, the Don Quixote is a landing craft built in 1954 by Higgins Industries, New Orleans, according to federal and state vessel records. The boat remained grounded on a pebble beach early Thursday as contractors for Seattle-based Global Diving and Salvage were to arrive on scene and evaluate the vessel’s seaworthiness for recovery, and formulate a plan for Coast Guard to approval to mitigate any pollution danger from 2,000 gals. of fuel on board

An overflight by a Coast Guard air crew had detected minor sheening on the water near the vessel, and Coast Guard officials said they had opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to pay for potential cleanup work. But after the Don Quixote refloated on a Thursday high tide, another overflight saw no sheening or discharges, and determined the vessel appeared stable.

The crew was able to fix leaks and lighten the vessel's cargo load before successfully backing off the beach. The Coast Guard allowed the vessel to resume normal operations.

"Despite some minor, unrecoverable sheening reported yesterday, this is otherwise the best case scenario for all involved," said Lt. James Nunez, incident management division chief for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, in a prepared statement.

During the initial response to distress calls from the Don Quixote, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and a C-130 Hercules aircraft responded, and dewatering pumps were air dropped to help the crew get water out of the vessel.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.